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  • Wicked thought...

    While reading Matt's post about his grandfather's newly purchased Lark hard top, my mind began to wander (it is the natural state of my brain). For those old enough to remember, from the time of the first automobiles until the early '60's the roofline of cars was designed to give plenty of head room because adult males wore hats. Not just caps, but hats. When did this change?

    To me, as I recall, the change happened because of one man. Not so much on purpose by that man, but because of the big deal the press made of his choice. That man was president Kennedy. Chet Huntly, David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite, and others made a huge deal about the young president going hatless.

    Suddenly, headroom (hat clearance) was no longer so important. Rooflines began to plummet, and cars became lower, sleeker, and even sedans caught the trend. Of course, this was all too late for Studebaker, since the plants were shutting down as the hats came off.

    I have seen chopped coupes, hawks, and trucks. Chopped rods of all makes have been done. However, I don't recall ever seeing a "chopped Lark." (Wicked thought) Do any exist? Does anyone have pictures? Done well...I think it would be a wicked looking car without the tall greenhouse that was originally designed for hat clearance.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC

    SDC member since 1975

  • #2
    Fascinating observation. His wife had a huge impact on fashion at that time, so it makes perfect sense.
    Andy
    62 GT

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    • #3
      chopstu right here on the Forum is doing a 61
      Frank van Doorn
      Omaha, Ne.
      1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
      1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
      1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD

      Comment


      • #4
        Dang, John, where you been?? Our own Kevin "Keb'Mo'" Dillon (4961Studebaker) is doing just that!



        Just one thread on the car:

        http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...-little-things
        Proud NON-CASO

        I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of honor...it is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

        If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln

        GOD BLESS AMERICA

        Ephesians 6:10-17
        Romans 15:13
        Deuteronomy 31:6
        Proverbs 28:1

        Illegitimi non carborundum

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        • #5
          John, I think it's your bed time. Just kidding.
          Having driven both Hawks and Larks, I don't think I have any more headroom in them than what I have in my 1998 Grand Prix. I guess the only difference being that the seat in the Pontiac is much lower. With that said, pehaps the advent of lower roof lines also meant lowering the seats? I have a 4 inch diameter stereo speaker mounted vertically under the seat of my Hawk, but have very little clearance under the modern car's seat.
          But to answer your question, I guess I havent seen a chopped Lark in person but I believe there is a forum member doing such a modification.
          sigpic
          In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bob Andrews View Post
            Dang, John, where you been?? Our own Kevin "Keb'Mo'" Dillon (4961Studebaker) is doing just that!



            Just one thread on the car:

            http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...-little-things
            Hey, I have seen this one, however, it is not a hardtop, and the fact that it is also lowered threw me off a bit. It does look cool though and this thread gives him a chance to get it some attention without having to toot his own horn.

            Great example...any more...post away!
            John Clary
            Greer, SC

            SDC member since 1975

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            • #7
              I still wear a hat. Being of average height,I don't have the roof clearance problem,but the tall headrest on modern cars do bug me some time. NT
              Neil Thornton

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jclary View Post
                Hey, I have seen this one, however, it is not a hardtop
                Ah, you didn't specify 'hardtop'. In that case I can't recall ever seeing any... Probably would be much easier than what Kevin's doing...
                Proud NON-CASO

                I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of honor...it is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

                If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln

                GOD BLESS AMERICA

                Ephesians 6:10-17
                Romans 15:13
                Deuteronomy 31:6
                Proverbs 28:1

                Illegitimi non carborundum

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jclary View Post
                  [B]While reading Matt's post about his grandfather's newly purchased Lark hard top, my mind began to wander (it is the natural state of my brain). For those old enough to remember, from the time of the first automobiles until the early '60's the roofline of cars was designed to give plenty of head room because adult males wore hats. Not just caps, but hats. When did this change?
                  I believe you are thinking of the 2-door body style; especially hardtops, and when the 'Fastback' body style came out. I would pinpoint 1965 as a start for that one. The only manufacturer that was concious of rear seat headroom was probably AMC with its Marlin.

                  Craig

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
                    I believe you are thinking of the 2-door body style...
                    Craig
                    That was my main thought when I first posted this thread.

                    Also, someone mentioned how head rest interfere with wearing hats. That is probably the biggest "hat-killer" of all. I have a couple of brimmed hats that I like to wear in the summer. All my vehicles, except for the Studebakers, make it nearly impossible to wear a hat in the car because of the head rests.
                    John Clary
                    Greer, SC

                    SDC member since 1975

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      While I like what 4961 is doing to his 2 door, I, like Mr C, am curious as to what a Lark Hardtop--possibly a 59 or 60 with fenderskirts and all--would look like with a "Gentleman's Chop". Perhaps someone with good Photoshop skills could show us how its done? My last foray into 'whatif' required me to print off several identical colour pictures of a wagon, and use scissors and tape to figure out a few bits.

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                      • #12
                        They sure advertised "hatroom" for the 1965 Cruiser:

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                        • #13
                          I agree whole heartedly agree with John, the top hat went out of style once Kennedy didn't wear one at his inauguration. I believe IKE did! Much like the popularity of drag racing gave way to the big n little prostreet craze.
                          So the theory of 'as the hat goes' so do the roof lines makes perfect sense.
                          Kind of funny this comes up today, because I was passed by a Dodge Viper last night and the roof line on that car is so low that you actually see 2 small bubbles to MAKE head room for the occupants. : )

                          As to a hardtop chopped, I don't recall seeing one either, let alone a sedan the closest I've seen in person is a drawing of one, "show them Larks" thread.......Bob has a 61 HT drawing in his post, (however it looks more stock height. And another I'll need to scan.

                          Proportions have to be matched IMO if the top comes down in a gentleman way the springs need to be lowered a little as well to avoid a squatty appearance. While I don't have a picture of a stock ride height/chopped top.......I do have a pic in reverse to illustrate a Top hat friendly, lowered ride


                          .
                          Last edited by 4961Studebaker; 12-06-2010, 06:26 AM.
                          61 Lark

                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jim B PEI View Post
                            My last foray into 'whatif' required me to print off several identical colour pictures of a wagon, and use scissors and tape to figure out a few bits.
                            I recall those day's,.......scotch tape works the best doesn't it.
                            61 Lark

                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 4961Studebaker View Post
                              Kind of funny this comes up today, because I was passed by a Dodge Viper last night and the roof line on that car is so low that you actually see 2 small bubbles to MAKE head room for the occupants. : )


                              When I first saw one those, what came to mind was the Abarth 'Double Bubble' from circa 1959/60. It also low for the era, and the roof had the same provisions for headroom. As far as the first 'factory' choptop, I'd say it was the 1978-80 Volvo 262C. It truly was a chopped top with three inches removed by Bertone, and new C-pillars grafted on.

                              Craig

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